Travel bugs leave behind hickeys too

You can find love in places that you can’t in people. A broken estuary or a canopy of trees will seldom disappear hastily from your life. When they gradually do, they are replaced in ways you may not even miss them.

Wet grassy knolls, filled with butterflies and bee-eaters, might turn into muddy breasts – with falcons circling the roundest cobblestones. A waterfall, angrily frothing from its mouth, might one day decide to dry up and leave the poetry to the stars bathed in crepuscular light.

I have fallen in love with many strange and beautiful places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. From misty mountaintops and abandoned bridges to pygmy waterfalls and secrets meadows. A field of sunflowers. A cottage with a rainforest for a garden. A river without a name.

Whenever I am in the wild, privy to the plot of nature and drenched in her vastness and splendor, I turn into a mute spectator. Intoxicated and smitten. A little frightened at the possibility of sudden contentment. And very excited to briefly escape the drudgery of urban landscapes.

Gloriously confused and glowingly positive about the speck of land in the universe that I was born into. Oblivious to all the gnarly dangers out there in the wild yet curious about every sign of breathing life, hoofed, winged or scurrying furiously out of sight.

But nature is neither an attractive lover nor a devoted mother. She may not even be a woman.

For me, nature is a four-legged mammal. A crested raptor. A crimson butterfly. A tapeworm squirming through our insides. A blade of grass. Bird poop. The cool summer breeze. A tsunami wave. A pine tree. Moonlit nights. Rainy afternoons. A force to reckon with. The cognitive reason why we are able to breathe.

Light. Darkness. Everything that was here before, and all that will survive long after we are gone.

I don’t think that traveling is a crucial life hack for everyone. I feel odd even glorifying it because we could be contributing so much more to nature instead. We ignore an ecosystem that desperately needs us to intervene on its behalf to facetiously find purpose and meaning in our own lives.

But it’s a beautiful burden to bear.

Even though traveling may not be for you, you should try it out anyway. Find out for yourself. You just might discover a new reason to wake up in the morning, excited that you are still alive.

Gavi, Kerala

You can’t put
yourself together
with someone else’s
broken pieces, but
you can walk uphill
until you find a spot,
safe and warm, to untie
your shoelaces.

(Photographs: Anjaveedu, Manamannur & Berijam – Kodaikanal, Vagamon & Gavi – Idukki, Megamalai, Yercaud, Chittoor)

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34 comments

  1. Gorgeous photos and images and philosophy, Christy. I shall come back and look at these images again soon when I’ve access to a larger screen. What I can see on my tablet is just wonderful, so it will be spectacular later! (Shall also visit some of the links then.) Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Val, glad I could cook up a feast for your eyes today! I am unsure if the photos would look any better on a larger screen since many of them were taken with a sordid camera years ago.

      I can’t say this enough, thank you so much for being a regular visitor to this humble space of mine ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤ The way you write.

    Every syllable sticks onto the sweet nectar of the mighty self, unwilling to let go – not yet. It’s easy to bask in its glory, as each line sends a chill down the spine – the one like you’ve never known existed. It’s easy to absorb it all, and yet the eyes remain as widened they were in the beginning, as towards its end. They settle on every inch of my being, only to be ingested automatically. It’s a wonderful dream to be a part of – please, never let this end.

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww Madhvi, that’s such a lovely compliment. I am unsure if I even deserve it. But thank you ❤

      I am reminded of Benjamin Franklin quote – “either write something worth reading or do something worth writing”. As writers, I think that we struggle to do both.

      Going beyond the bonfire of my own vanities, I find it very encouraging when I hear such a beautiful comment (superbly-written, if I may add).

      Miga nandri, nanba (smile)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Writing – about anything – is a big deal. The piece, once penned, comes right alive. Completely agree on Franklin’s quote. And your writing – always worth reading 🙂

        Not to miss adding, this is one topic of interest I wouldn’t miss reading about, in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well narrated CB,loved the photos .Future of eco system I am not sure,since no body is aware of the seriousness,leave alone showing some interest.Forests and jungles are famous for killings & destruction. Though some Hollywood movies show the enormous power of nature’s anger ,nobody seems to give a sh’t .Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you doc, it was a pleasure to share them.

      More than ignorance, I believe that it is indifference that will kill the ecosystem that we are a part of.

      Nature, as a whole, will survive though. She would just smirk, flick her little pinky finger and watch us go extinct with a heavy sigh of relief!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Yet more traveling also means more pollution. The most popular means of transport and the most convenient possibilities of accommodation tend to be the least ecological. Even those backpacker idealists who enter one plane after the other do significant harm to the planet they pretend to love.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. How could I have not commented here before? This post really moved me and your descriptions are most definitely poetry in motion.

    ‘Start where you are’ is the best way to begin exploring nature, if you ask me. Working to keep the urban sprawl from taking more nature away, it would become less imperative that we travel long distances to seek it out. But there’s something of the mountains, the coastline. Get out from behind your desks and screens, fellow humans!

    ‘The mountains are calling and I must go.’ ~ John Muir

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww your footprints resonate in places on this blog even when they don’t, Shannon.

      Beautiful quote by Muir too. I hear them singing. Whispering, at times. And one time, I swear they screamed at me too.

      I’m sure you can relate to the bittersweet-ness of it all (smile)

      Like

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